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Study Links Eczema to Multiple Health Concerns

Woman with eczema
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Various irritating skin conditions that comprise eczema start during childhood often, but they can afflict people of all ages with differing severities. Mild forms cause dry, hot, itchy skin. Worse types create raw, leathery, cracked, and bleeding skin. Although eczema may appear unsightly, it isn’t contagious. But a new study discovered that these distressing skin rashes’ health effects can dip way below visible cells to the heart.

Related Disease Risks

Researchers analyzed 2010 and 2012 health survey data on over 61,600 American adults between the ages of 18 and 85. Eczema patients had a 54-percent greater likelihood of being severely obese, compared to subjects without that skin condition. They had 48-percent higher odds of having hypertension. These subjects were around a third more liable to experience high cholesterol levels. The link between eczema and sleeping difficulties was strong. Eczema participants also were more prone to be pre-diabetic or diabetic than those without skin conditions. Dr. Jonathan Silverberg, the study’s lead researcher, concludes that eczema disturbs much more than the skin’s surface. It affects every facet of adult patients’ lives ― including possibly increasing their risks of developing additional ailments including cardiovascular disease (CVD), stroke, hypertension, and high cholesterol. The research team associated eczema with these extra maladies even after they controlled for alcohol consumption, smoking, and fitness training. Various eczema conditions may lead to the additional illnesses. The chronic inflammation could increase heart disease and stroke risks. Sufferers may avoid working out because heat and sweating can worsen itching and skin irritation, Silverberg explains. Unwelcome skin issues might have psychological impacts, Silverberg notes. Because these afflictions begin in early childhood often, they might tarnish young patients’ identities and self-esteem. Those negative factors may provoke adverse adult behaviors. Or unhealthy lifestyle habits alone may be to blame. Eczema subjects drank and smoked more, were less liable to exercise, and had greater obesity odds than adults without this disease.

Eczema Causes and Treatments

Certain hereditary genes may give you extra-sensitive skin. You may be susceptible to eczema if your immune system is overactive. Defects in your skin’s barrier may allow moisture to escape and germs to enter. Typical eczema triggers may include:
  • Stress
  • Irritating substances like harsh soaps and coarse fabrics
  • Heat and sweating
  • Dry skin
  • Cold and dry climates
Soothing cream for eczema CanadianPharmacyMeds.comMinimize your allergic inflammatory reactions by cleaning affected areas with hypoallergenic soap daily and using prescription treatments.
  • Choose from several Hydrocortisone medications that reduce eczema’s irritating inflammation.
  • Diphenhydramine is an antihistamine that helps relieve itchiness and clears up rashes.

Home Remedies

Even when your skin appears less inflamed, it remains sensitive to recurrent outbreaks. Ongoing specialized skin care is more likely to control this chronic condition than cure it. Experts recommend various home remedies that range from basic fixes like switching laundry detergents or fabric softeners to complicated solutions like changing jobs or climates. Whenever possible, remove anything that causes your allergic reactions. To counteract dry skin, take warm showers instead of hot baths. Use only mild body cleansers or soaps. Dry your body with care by patting gently rather than rubbing vigorously. Then apply a lubricating cream or moisturizing skin lotion over your entire body. Avoid products with irritating substances including fragrances. Replace tight-fitting, scratchy, and rough clothes containing irritating fibers like wool and mohair with loose, soft, comfortable items. Avoid scratching your itchy skin. Whenever you can’t resist the temptation to rub your rashes, cover them with protective dressings. Wearing gloves to bed can curtail skin damage from unconscious scratching while you’re sleeping. Any activities that make you sweat can irritate your eczema, so skip strenuous workouts during flares. Avoid mental and physical stressors. Eating well, engaging in light activities, and getting adequate sleep can help prevent eczema flare-ups and encourage overall good health.

Addressing Connected Medical Conditions

Dermatologist Dr. Doris Day advises that eczema causes stress, which contributes to increased heart disease and stroke risks. This disrupting and embarrassing skin condition can influence self-worth and general well-being in major ways. Such stress can be a trigger that worsens the itchiness and resulting rash. Day tells her patients that addressing any emotional issues along with physical ones from eczema’s onset is the best way to manage its symptoms. Combining cognitive therapy with skin care can help reduce physical effects, flare-ups, and the emotional stress that can trigger an enflamed and frustrating cycle. Even though Silverberg’s study establishes eczema as a CVD marker, he notes that patients can change their associated unhealthy lifestyle factors like smoking, drinking, and obesity. He advocates working with your dermatologist or primary care doctor to treat more than your skin condition. A medical professional can help you replace your bad habits with healthy behaviors that will reduce your cardiac disease and stroke risks. Dietary recommendations may include choosing low-calorie nutrient-rich foods. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fiber, fish, lean proteins, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products are key. To keep your weight healthy, coordinate your intake and exercise so you use up the calories you consume.

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